Mormons Pick Nominees, Part II

October 6, 2005 | 40 comments
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First it was Ginsburg. Orrin Hatch has publicly taken credit for Clinton’s decision to nominate both Ginsburg and Breyer, writing of a discussion with the former president:

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer’s name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

And with Orrin Hatch’s advice and consent, first Ginsburg and then Breyer were confirmed. (There are conflicting views as to what this means).

Now, Mormon Senator Harry Reid claims to be the inspiration behind the Miers nomination:

At the meeting we had with the president last week, we were in the office he has there; I was there, Frist was there, Leahy was there, and Specter was there, plus Andy Card and the vice president. I said, “The vice president got here in a very unusual way. He was chosen by you to find a candidate to be your vice president. You liked the person in charge of finding a candidate better than the people he chose.” I said, “I think that rather than rather than looking at the people your lawyer’s recommending, pick her.”

So three of the last four nominees were suggested by Mormons? Not bad, not bad at all. Perhaps we’re not electable as presidents, but it looks like we’re doing alright being the power behind the throne.

You know, I would post on this issue further, but I’ve got to run and go refine my short list. Just in case the President calls to ask me about nominees.

(Cross posted at Concurring Opinions).

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40 Responses to Mormons Pick Nominees, Part II

  1. GeorgeD on October 6, 2005 at 10:18 am

    More reasons why I dislike Orrin Hatch so intensely. It could hardly get worse for Harry Reid.

  2. Peter on October 6, 2005 at 10:19 am

    Sorry Kaimi,

    But the key to appointment in the Bush administration is being in charge of the search.

  3. Mike on October 6, 2005 at 11:56 am

    Mier’s appointment is brilliant for such a seemingly dunce as Bush is claimed to be by his critics. He has known her for years and she undoubtedly is pretty darn conservative. She is a born again fundamentalistic Christian much like Bush. She is relatively unknown by Bush enemies and so they can not be quick and effective in their first response against her. The conservative base doesn’t know her and doesn’t trust anyone after past betrayals. So when they started to criticize her that put the liberals off balance again. She has done nothing to criticize, not having been a Judge and her other work is easily hidden, so they can’t find anything to use against her. More stone walled hearings with assinine theatrics by the usual suspects will occupy the media for a few meaningless weeks.

    Bottom line only 100 opinions count, those of our elected senators. With Frist behind her and the near usual Republican discipline plus suppport from Reid who will bring the moderate portion of the other Democrats in line, she will pass nomination easily. She will be heavily influenced by the sensibility, strength and brilliance of Roberts. The Supreme Court will finally be tipped in the conservative direction.

    But how far will they actually be able to go to unravel the last 50 years? That is the question.

  4. Mark B. on October 6, 2005 at 12:05 pm

    I’m not sure what GeorgeD means: does his dislike for Hatch arise from the advice that Hatch gave Clinton, or does it come from Hatch’s capitol-dome-sized ego?

  5. Geoff B on October 6, 2005 at 12:11 pm

    Mike (#3) makes some excellent points. Thanks for not following the conservative lemmings off the cliff (with apologies to Adam and other conservatives whom I admire and agree with almost always).

  6. Last Lemming on October 6, 2005 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for not following the conservative lemmings off the cliff

    Ahem…

    Go right ahead and jump off the cliff. Just wear a life saver like I do. (Or more precisely, like Gary Larson’s original last lemming did).

  7. Adam Greenwood on October 6, 2005 at 12:43 pm

    “Thanks for not following the conservative lemmings off the cliff (with apologies to Adam and other conservatives whom I admire and agree with almost always). ”

    I think lemmings is the wrong metaphor, because I don’t think most conservatives are opposing HM on the grounds that other conservatives are. As best I can tell, most conservatives who are dubious of her had an immediate, unfiltered reaction to the news of her nomination. Certainly this was the case with me.

  8. lyle on October 6, 2005 at 1:18 pm

    Actually, the “lemmings” in this case seem to be those that are following the pied piper off the cliff w/o any objectively verifiable information that they won’t fall and die.

  9. GeorgeD on October 6, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    My dislike for Orrin Hatch comes from his rank stupidity, his oversize ego, his smelly friends (read that Monzer Hourani) his sucking up to Teddy Kennedy, his pandering flag burning amendment, his doggerel songs, unkept promises, incompetent staff, did I say his stupidity (oh yes)…I was amused by what he said about Harriet Miers. It was something to the effect that we needed some people with less experience to see things a different way. I hope the voters of Utah treat Hatch the same way.

    He is the second biggest embarassment to the Church in politics. The first is Harry Reid. (Its actually a close contest.)

  10. Clark on October 6, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    It’s also the wrong metaphor because lemmings don’t actually jump off cliffs.

    BTW – as a tangental topic, what do you think the chances of getting rid of Hatch in the primaries are?

  11. Jesse on October 6, 2005 at 1:46 pm

    GeorgeD:

    Whenever anyone, in a discussion of politics, begins to paint the opposition in broad brush strokes, then I begin to believe that this person does not have a very deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of either the issues or individuals being discussed. In this particular instance, I can say that I am personally well acquainted with some of Hatch’s DC staffers and have found them to be decent, intelligent, hard working individuals. Certainly, it is possible that less than competent individuals work for him either in DC, or in his state offices, with whom I am not acquainted, but such a one sided accusation is as the one you lay out is, in my experience, unwarrented.

    If you could offer some well reasoned, fact-based reasons as to why you object to Mr. Hatch holding his office, your stance would be much more convincing. Offering complaints such as you have does not serve to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with you.

  12. Mark B. on October 6, 2005 at 1:52 pm

    I just wonder how Lerner foresaw so accurately the current senior senator from Utah:

    Oozing charm from every pore
    He oiled his way across the floor.

  13. Ivan Wolfe on October 6, 2005 at 1:55 pm

    “wear a life saver”

    I don’t get the connection – follow lemmings off the cliff, but make sure candy is stuck to your skin?

    I would wear a life jacket, myself (or an inner tube as the lemming in Larson’s The Far Side did). ;-)

  14. GeorgeD on October 6, 2005 at 1:56 pm

    Jesse, Thanks for your patronizing and condescending tone. I am sure your are very bright and erudite.

    I have met Hatch, I have worked with his staff (morons) I have heard him make promises of assistance that he did not one thing to follow through on. I know his friends (the scummy ones anyway). I am a conservative Republican and I think that Orrin Hatch is a slug.

    If you need reasons just google Orrin Hatch and Monzer Hourani.

    Are you related to Hatch?

  15. Jesse on October 6, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    GeorgeD:

    Perhaps I should clarify somewhat.

    I am not so much taking issue with your feelings about Hatch, as I am pointing out that when we try to convince each other of a given position, our writing is more powerful and persuasive if we are able to offer concrete and specific details as opposed to ad hominem attacks or simple opinion. The lack of that more objective information in much of our national political discourse, I think, contributes to people’s cynicism about political life and it is one of my personal pet peeves. So I suppose you touched a nerve.

    I was also seeking to temper somewhat, your depiction of Hatch’s staff with my own perspective. I work in the legislative office of one of the larger federal agencies. The former director of our office, for many years, worked with Hatch. In addition, I am on friendly terms with his lead assistant on social security issues. I have also, in the past, as a lobbyist, visited his office and met with him and another of his long serving legislative assistants. I found none of them to be either foolish or stupid and I admit to feeling a touch offended by a such a sweeping accusation leveled against them.

    I did not mean to be condescending toward you and apologize if I came off that way.

  16. Lamonte on October 6, 2005 at 2:44 pm

    Jesse,

    In the spirit of your conversation with GeorgeD, let me then be specific about some less than intelligent things the Senator has done to earn my disdain. Five years ago when Al Gore was doing what I hope most reasonable people would consider his legitmate right, challenging the results of a close election in Florida, Hatch accused him of trying to commandeer the government and likened him to Slobodan Milosevic, who was, at that time, reported on daily by the media for his despicable behavior The vice president of the United States was similar to Slobodan Milosevic – the war criminal, that’s what the Sentor suggested.

    twenty years ago when it became apparent that the Reagan Whitehouse was knee deep in the Iran/Contra scandel, Senator Hatch made a staement that said essentially if the sinister Congress had not passed legislation speficially prohiting the U.S. government from aiding the Contras, the president’s men wouldn’t have had to break the law.

    Is this the kind of specific details you are referring to?

  17. Lamonte on October 6, 2005 at 2:53 pm

    Sorry about the spelling.

    Twenty…..statement…specifically prohibiting….the law

  18. Jesse on October 6, 2005 at 2:54 pm

    Lamonte:

    That is precisely what I am more in favor of seeing! And indeed, in this case, Hatch’s comparison of Gore to Milosevic is patently absurd and shows that he himself is engaging in exactly the kind of hyperbolic discussion that I find so distasteful. Rather than make him look thoughtful and respectful, that kind of statement simply undermines his own position.

    If your point is to convince someone who questions your opinions, then overblown rhetoric is simply self-defeating. And it gets used far too often in political discourse.

    And it drives me nuts! In fact, it makes me want to say that those guys across the street are all a bunch of blathering idiots…. but I do sin in my rhetoric, evil man that I am. :-)

  19. Kaimi on October 6, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    George,

    Please refrain from personal and demeaning statements about others. If you’d like to riff on Hatch’s “stupidity” or “scummy” friends or “moron” staffers, there are a number of conveinent online fora where that kind of discourse is the norm. This is not one of them.

  20. GeorgeD on October 6, 2005 at 5:14 pm

    My abject and humble apologies for calling Hatch like I see him.

  21. Anonymous on October 6, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    Orrin Hatch is kind individual. He has personally blessed my life and the lives of countless other church members. Can you imagine the pain that you and your family would feel if your missteps were blogged about in such a NASTY fashion? This is real person, not a character on TV show. You probably have no idea the personal sacrifices and privacy forfeiture that the men and women (and their families!) who serve our country in a public capacity make. I do. Comments constantly are taken out of context and but into the most embarrassing light possible. (Think Bill Bennett – read what he said carefully, his comments did not merit the media lashing at all.) I respectfully urge you to rethink how you choose to express your opinions in the future. There are much more constructive (and Christ-like) ways of getting your point across.

  22. GeorgeD on October 6, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    People who put themselves out in public are subject to public criticism. No tears for Hatch here. His public behavior deserves every bit of scrutiny possible. Blogs are the most democratic development of the last 100 years. Note that I never said a thing about his family life, his private association with his neighbors, his standing in the church etc.

  23. Stephen M (ethesis) on October 7, 2005 at 12:38 am

    cute …

  24. John on October 7, 2005 at 6:51 am

    If comments #9 and #14 don’t cross the line of civil conversation on this blog, I doubt anything does. Of course, comment #20 is not an apology of any sort. Hatch is derided on this blog as being a prima donna, full of himself (e.g., “the only person who takes Orrin Hatch seriously for the Supreme Court is Orrin Hatch”), idiotic, an embarrassment, and a slug, among other things. But he is a “public figure,” so we should feel free to trash him as long as we do not say anything about his family, his associations with his neighbors, and his church standing.

  25. GeorgeD on October 7, 2005 at 9:37 am

    “we should feel free to trash him”

    Yes indeed. Ever watch debate in the House of Commons? They make me seem tame (and yes ignorant). By contrast debate in the Senate is stultifying in its false civility.

    You are probably under 30 and all your teachers made you place nice at school. You have to pacify them and neutralize them before you can take over their minds.

  26. Space Chick on October 7, 2005 at 11:17 am

    GeorgeD

    just because the House of Commons does it, doesn’t mean we should follow suit in nasty debate. Public figures are indeed open to public criticism for their actions in public service, but Jesse’s request for specifics is only fair. John is right about comments #9 and #14, and I don’t think they added much to the topic. There is a difference between scrutiny and calumny–please be sure you’re not crossing it. Your implication that being under 30 implies being brainwashed is another example of over-generalization, and not applicable to everyone on this thread or on this blog. Asking you to be nice has nothing to do with our teachers or our schooling, and everything to do with our desire to converse as civilized people instead of mudslingers. If you can’t express your opinions more politely, don’t expect anyone to take them as valid. Anyone can rant and rave about what a scumbag someone else is–it requires logical and reasoned argument to convince others, not emotion.

  27. GeorgeD on October 7, 2005 at 11:28 am

    My beefs against Orrin Hatch
    1) the burn the flag amendment — this is abject pandering
    2) his relationship (well documented) with Monzer Hourani – google it
    3) personal interactions with him and his staff on promises of use of his legislative/Washington influence with a federal agency. This was a promise made to a oppressed person (by anyone’s measure of oppression). There was absolutely no follow through
    4) taking advantage of his public persona to flog his songs. More Monzer in this arrangement.
    5) his lay down and die relationship with liberal senators particularly Senator Kennedy.

    etc.

    Go see Steve Urquhart’s blog and web page if you want more reasons

  28. jbrooks on October 7, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Oh, now let’s get all over George because he said something a little nasty about Hatch. Jesse to the rescue with his nasty comments about George. Oh, aren’t we all so clever and smart.

  29. Adam Greenwood on October 7, 2005 at 12:42 pm

    There will be
    (1) no further discussion of Hatch, pro or con, in this thread
    and
    (2), GeorgeD will stop participating in this thread, either openly or through internet alter-egos. The editors regret having to make a public statement of this kind but remind commenters that giving a false email address leaves us no choice.

    I should note, before any persecution reflex kicks in, that I am in substantial agreement with most of GeorgeD’s points on this and other issues. But we must insist on civility and on deferring to editor’s requests to leave certain topics alone

    For the editors,

    Adam Greenwood

  30. GeorgeD on October 7, 2005 at 2:31 pm

    Deleted.

  31. GeorgeD on October 7, 2005 at 2:51 pm

    Deleted.

  32. Adam Greenwood on October 7, 2005 at 3:46 pm

    George D.,

    We rely on commenters voluntarily respecting our site and our rules. Your idea that your behavior is our fault because we don’t put “real control on your web site” is the exact equivalent of a burglar arguing that his crimes are justified because the doors weren’t locked.

    I had been your strongest supporter among the cobloggers, but since you are unable to comply with the request in 29(2), I shall recommend “moderation”–comments that you post will go into a queue until they are approved by one of the cobloggers. After a period of good behavior, you can ask the commenters via email to have your privileges reinstated. I hope you avail yourself of that opportunity though past experience makes me not sanguine.

  33. TheSnakeGuy on October 7, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    Meirs needs to be withdrawn. The Supreme Court is not a political institution and appointing the presidents personal lawyer hurts its reputation as an independant body. She does not have any constitutional experience. This doesn’t have to come from being a judge, but it needs to come from somewhere. She is a stealth candidate that hasn’t had to defend her constitutional views in any sort of public way. That is bad precedent. This is a democracy and we should want to have a public discussion. Especially on a subject this important. Roe was a horrible decision. Not just because it had a bad outcome, but because it was bad law. The nominee should be able to say that. Honesty is something Mormons should be for. Having stealth candidates that pretend not to be conservative during the nomination is not being honest. Miers is a good person, but not of Supreme Court caliber. Bush has divided the conservative party. You belong to a party because it stands for something you believe in. I believe in smaller government and judiciary that follows the constitution. The Bush administration has talked the talk, but hasn’t walked the walk. I have seen zero evidence that Miers is an originalist/textualist. Even if she is genuinely conservative (I am not convinced) that is not good enough. Take Brown vs Board of Education. The ruling in that case was a good one and it acheived a good outcome. But the rational those judges used to support the decision was horrible. Miers isn’t capable of writing good decisions, even if she does get the decision correct. Excuse me while I pull this knife from the Bush Administration out of my back. We have the New York Yankees bench and we put up some AA ballplayer whose greatest acheivements are having a friend who is a president, working on a state lottery commission, and volunteering with meals on wheels.

  34. Kaimi on October 7, 2005 at 5:57 pm

    One quibble — Harriet Miers isn’t AA ball. She’s the Padres.

  35. Adam Greenwood on October 7, 2005 at 6:00 pm

    Ooh, Kaimi. That was so exactly right it gave me shivers.

  36. Josh Kim on October 7, 2005 at 6:53 pm

    At BYU theres a writing contest for the Religion department. I was thinking of doing a political science paper on the Book of Mormon. Since the book is indeed a real document of a real people politics and economics should definitely be in there.
    what do you guys think? any suggestions for sources?

  37. lyle on October 7, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    Josh: Great idea. Perhaps start with Pres. Benson’s suggestion that there is material in the Book of Mormon for people from all crafts/professions to find interest in. That seems to indicate you are on the right track.

  38. lyle on October 7, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    Josh: Great idea. Perhaps start with Pres. Benson’s suggestion that there is material in the Book of Mormon for people from all crafts/professions to find interest in. That seems to indicate you are on the right track.

  39. Josh Kim on October 7, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    thanks for the idea lyle! i’ll get on it…as soon as i sample some fine mexican cuisine!

  40. Jettboy on October 8, 2005 at 9:46 am

    Deleted for arguing that commenters are under no moral obligation to abide by T&S rules.